Darcy, Lizzy and Lady Susan
Barbara Silkstone’s newest full-length humorous Regency novel contains just a sprinkling of angst. Another feel good read. Check out the movie trailer below!
Coming soon on Kobo, Nook, and iTunes
What if Jane Austen’s most notorious character, Lady Susan Vernon, paid a special visit to Lady Catherine de Bourgh at her grand estate of Rosings Park? Her arrival inadvertently occurs right after Elizabeth Bennet has rejected Mr. Darcy’s botched proposal, and the saddened gentleman catches the eye of London’s most infamous flirt. The fun begins as Lady Susan plots to sever Darcy from Elizabeth, and claim him for herself. We all know she can’t possibly win his heart, but it is a bit of a giggle to watch her try.
Lady Susan was made into a hilarious movie in 2016. Take a peek at this trailer and you will get the rhythm of my novel, DARCY, LIZZY and LADY SUSAN. Enjoy!
YouTube movie trailer for Love and Friendship (Lady Susan by Jane Austen)
Excerpt from Darcy, Lizzy and Lady Susan
Lady Susan ignored the uproar coming from the first level, as she walked softly into the west wing. Without knocking she opened the first door she came to, prepared to declare she was lost if someone occupied the room. Luck was with her, as it usually was, and she found herself alone in what she quickly surmised to be a man’s sitting room. The room was neat and orderly, with the aroma of leather and male sweat. Having a keen sense of smell where men were concerned, she knew instantly that she had stumbled into Mr. Darcy’s private parlor. She decided then and there, that fate was aiding her in her plan.
Using skills honed while meddling as a guest at the Mainwaring estate, she flew directly to the writing desk where all good secrets are kept. The last page of a letter lay face up on the blotter. The signature was clearly written—Fitzwilliam Darcy. Reading as rapidly as she could, her eyes caught sight of the rest of the letter; she carefully slid the sheets of paper from under the corner of the blotter.
She could tell by the deliberate way each word was formed, each line perfectly straight and unwavering, that Mr. Darcy had attempted to control his emotions as he wrote. She attributed the box of broken pens to the intensity of his grip as he shared his secrets with someone named Miss Bennet. According to the letter, there was a reason for his cold demeanor; his offer of marriage had been rejected this very day!
Who was this fool to deny one of the wealthiest men in all of England? Miss Bennet must be a personage of some importance. Lady Susan searched her mind for some reference to the Bennet name, but she could think of nothing. Memorizing the details regarding the strangers mentioned in the letter: Mr. Bingley, Miss Bennet’s sister, a Mr. Wickham and a Georgiana, she replaced the pieces of paper exactly as she had found them.
There was no need to risk further exposure. She had learned enough. Gathering her skirts close about her, Lady Susan turned to leave the room, but was startled when she came face to face with a chambermaid.
“This is Mr. Darcy’s room.” The voice was girlish. “No one is permitted in here.”
Never caught off guard, Lady Susan whispered, “The mouse! Did you see it?”
The maid jumped back. “A mouse?”
Lady Susan glanced at the girl’s feet. “There it goes! It ran into the hall! I followed it in the hopes of finding its mouse hole. That is the best way to catch them—at their burrow. The foul creature darted from my chambers and came this way.” She urged the girl out the door, closing it behind her.
One of Lady Susan’s chief talents was her ability to use just the right tone of voice to gain control over another person. “Perhaps you should call a footman. Inform him that the mouse was first sighted in my rooms.”
“Yes, madam.” The maid turned to fetch help, but then paused. “I cannot call for a footman just now as they are needed for an emergency. There is an urgent problem in the front parlor. Both footmen have been dispatched to bring help.”
Someone must be ill or injured. Lady Susan hoped it was not Mr. Darcy. If it was her newly intended, she thought he was revealing a decidedly selfish nature. He should have the courtesy to wait until after they were wed before he chose to die.
Her curiosity stirred, Lady Susan followed the maid down the stairs and into the front parlor, where Lady Catherine took on the stance of a gorgon, her countenance a mixture of concern and irritation.
A young girl, not yet a woman, lay moaning on the tapestried sofa. She clutched her stomach, retching violently. A man of about Mr. Darcy’s age, but light of coloring, knelt at her side, stroking her light brown hair. She must be a relative for him to show such concern while laying his hands upon her.
Lady Catherine barked instructions at the butler, and then at the young man. “Where is Mrs. Collins? This young lady is her sister!”
“Aunt, you were here when Richard dispatched the footman. The man is in search of her at this moment,” Darcy said. “I have sent another of your men to Hunsford for the apothecary.”
Not one to accept correction, Lady Catherine snapped at Colonel Fitzwilliam, “Fitzwilliam, take your hands off that girl. Your conduct is unseemly! Let one of the maids tend to her.”
Her nephew ignored her and continued to caress the girl’s head. “Miss Lucas, what did you eat?”
“B…berries,” she mumbled, looking at him with tear-filled eyes.
Richard remained kneeling at her side, but cut a serious look at Darcy. “What color were the berries?” he asked, taking her small hand in his.
“Red,” she answered, again clutching her body and crying in pain.
Darcy was temporarily drawn away from the drama on the sofa as he felt Lady Susan staring at him. The expression on her face was not unlike a cat about to pounce upon a bird; she appeared to have some intimate knowledge of his vulnerability. He wondered how she dared to insinuate intimacy. Yet it was there, plain as the smirk on her lips. The woman was all sharp angles; there was nothing soft about her.
Lady Susan kept her distance as Mrs. Collins’ young sister writhed in pain. It was her belief that women who acted thusly were seeking attention; she was not about to add to the fawning over the girl’s theatrics.
Barbara Silkstone’s Amazon Author’s page
Barbara Silkstone is the author of thirty-nine novels and novellas. She has currently written seventeen Pride & Prejudice variations both Regency and Contemporary—always with a light comic touch. Look for Darcy and Elizabeth Serendipity and Darcy, Lizzy and Emma, The Gallant Vicar and The Return of the Gallant Vicar. Enjoy her Mister Darcy series of comedic mysteries – eight book series. Also The Witches of Longbourn – a three book series imagining Darcy and Elizabeth as witches who come together to save the king of England from one of Darcy’s spells that has gone terribly wrong.